Many of us have noticed that when we try to focus on a certain issue, subject or phenomenon, very often our mind will not stay with us, wandering away into things we are sometimes barely aware of.
However, do not despair, as adequate mental practice may solve this problem.
Focus is a special, disciplined form of attention, which implies a contraction of the minds’ attention, so that there is no interference from irrelevant stimuli, which usually distracts us. Our whole consciousness is now directed in one direction only, or in other words we are focused.
The benefits of a great power of concentration in daily life are obvious:
You will be able to perform your duties more rapidly and effectively, and also to keep in mind more details associated to them. Most of the mistakes people usually do are caused by a lack of attention while performing a particular action.
Through practice you may train your mind to be more clear and insightful, regardless of the action itself. Thus you create the conditions for the mind to go back, inwards, to the true source of existence, the divine Self, Atman.
You can learn focus through practice, just as any other thing. Being able to focus is essential in meditation, so training your attention to concentrate on one object only, is the optimal way to attain a great concentration.
EXERCISE TO ENHANCE THE CAPACITY TO FOCUS
Take a common word, for instance “tree” or “water”. Write it down on a piece of paper and then write the first word you think of which is associated to it.
Come back to your first choice and write down another word related to the first, return to the first one and so on, until you run out of related words.
After this, stick with the initial word, keep it in mind and focus on it, without thinking about it. Continue the exercise for at least 15 minutes once a day, for a month. By the end of the month, you will surely notice a greater capacity of mental focus.
BREATH – THE SIMPLEST “OBJECT” TO FOCUS UPON
The first essential step in the practice of meditation is concentration. The mind has to have an object to focus upon.
Whenever your mind “runs” away from the object you chose to meditate upon (be it because of boredom, unwanted thoughts, or tiredness) you have to bring it back gently, but firmly.
You can meditate on absolutely anything. Nonetheless, especially in the early stages of meditation it is recommended to choose a simple and rhythmical object of meditation. Such an object is your breath.
The breath is simple, and rhythmical, permanently flowing out and then in, up and down, flux and reflux.
Furthermore the breath cannot be associated to a particular person or characteristic. It is the sustainer of life, vital to our existence, and still people have become so accustomed to it, they hardly pay it any attention.
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